Sunday, November 21, 2021

Longoria defeats Herrera to win 2021 LPRT Turkey Shoot

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) played one of her closest matches in some time on Sunday against LPRT #3 Alexandra Herrera, but she managed to prevail in three games, 13-15, 15-3, 11-9, to win the 29th Annual Glass Court LPRT Turkey Shoot in Lombard, Illinois. It’s the first time Longoria has had to play a tie-breaker since December 2019, when she also lost the first game, but came back to defeat Maria Jose Vargas at the Christmas Classic.

It was a long match, and early on it didn’t look like Longoria was going to need three games to win, as she took a 5-1 lead in game one. But Herrera dug in. When the score was 7-2, she called a timeout, and came back in and scored five straight points to tie the game, 7-7.

Herrera took the lead at 9-8, and scored the next five points to lead 14-8. Those points didn’t come quickly, though. as it took 19 rallies to get 5 points. Overall, Herrera outscored Longoria 12 to 1 in going from 7-2 down to 14-8 up.

But Longoria wasn’t giving in so easily, and when Herrera missed a forehand pinch shot - her favourite shot - Longoria was happy to take advantage of the opportunity. She scored five points on as many rallies to get within one of Herrera at 14-13.

However, Herrera hit a reverse pinch shot to get the serve back. She followed that up with a backhand winner on her second game point, and just like that Longoria lost her first game since June, when Monserrat Mejia defeated her at the Super Max Slam in Kansas.

Herrera also scored the first two points of game two, but after that it was all Longoria, as Herrera’s energy seemed to sag, and Longoria won 15-3. She also got the first three points of the tie-breaker. From there it was slow going. Twenty seven rallies later and they were tied 5-5, as Herrera got a second wind.

They tied again at 7-7, Longoria broke that tie with her 7th forehand pinch winner. It was as if Longoria had bought property in the front right corner. Herrera did get within one at 10-9, as she fought off Longoria’s first match point with a forehand winner and then hit another for her 9th point. But a Longoria backhand pinch shot stopped her there.

It was a great match with a lot of long rallies and some super shots. So, it was disappointing that the match ended on an avoidable hinder call against Herrera. She had hit a forehand shot down the right side, but Longoria was behind her, and moved to hit a response but held up, which is something she does a lot. The referee called an avoidable. Herrera appealed the call, but the line judges upheld it. It was perhaps harsh on Herrera, and certainly a sad way to end a very competitive match, but it wasn’t wrong.

Longoria and Herrera have now met 16 times on tour with Longoria winning all 16. Herrera lost her seventh LPRT final appearance, and is still looking for her first win.

The LPRT will next be in action next month at the Christmas Classic in Maryland, December 17-19. If you missed any of the Turkey Shoot action, check out the LPRT YouTube channel, which has a higher playback quality than on the LPRT Facebook page.

29th Annual Glass Court LPRT Turkey Shoot
November 19-21, 2021 - Lombard, Illinois

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 3) Alexandra Herrera, 13-15, 15-3, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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